In the last little while I've been thinking about a little part of a phone conversation I had with Tim Hanni some years back. I had watched JL Groux head winemaker at Hillebrand Estates at the time, state that the protein in steak will nullify the tannins in a red wine during an episode of the Rogers community cable program Wine Dining. I had mentioned this "fact" to Tim in our conversation and he quickly corrected me by saying that was
BS. He went in to clarify why that was the case. The blunt truth is that it is the exact opposite, if you have a tannic wine with a steak by itself it will increase the astringency of the tannins. When you use salt then they are pulled back.
In my own experience I purchased apple wines from Ocala Winery in Port Perry which were off dry and tried them with steak straight up. I found that they worked (worked for my Hyper sensitive taste leanings, see the Budometer entry if you need clarification) to my knowledge it is the Umami that is in the steak especially when it is aged that increase the sweetness of the wines tried.
Go to the November 24 2009 entry in Tims blog to get the full story. Click the title of this entry to get there